I knew nothing about reptiles, but I can't stand to see anything suffer. I called my daughter who asked me to come over so we could identify what it was. After showing her pictures of what I thought it looked like, we determined it was a nile monitor. She was quite surprised at the store the following day to see it was a blue tongue skink. After assessing the damage that had been inflicted on this poor little guy, she insisted I bring it home. She said if it stayed in the store the stress would kill him. I knew she was right, so I named him Stubbs and brought him home.
And so my relationship with blueys began. I thought I was giving him him a comfortable place to die. Everyone was astonished when he survived. My 3 year old granddaughter fell in love with him, so I couldn't give him back. I performed daily rituals of a torturous recovery. He got in my tub twice a day where I would hold him up so his legs could move freely. After cleaning wounds, tube feeding, water therapy, and mouth debriding, he was allowed to climb in my shirt to calm down and get warm. He quickly learned this signaled the end of his daily torture session. Seven years later, it's still his favorite place to be.
No one in my circle had ever seen a blue tongue skink and the pet stores didn't know what I needed to do to help him. It was at this point that we decided to get a second bluey. I decided it could teach me what the norms were: eating, sleeping, breathing, walking, pooping. It all looked foreign to me, especially considering this was my first reptile. We were in Florida for a conference and I had heard about Ray at Thunderbay Herps. We took a drive to see him. It was there that I bought my beloved Oscar Rose. Two years later when he was healthy, we bred them, and the rest is history.
Stubby eventually got the use of his leg back. Some of his toes grew back partially. He still has a gap on one side of his mouth that needs to be cleaned periodically, but most of his teeth eventually grew back. The pads of his feet filled in with new tissue, but he is left with many scars from his ordeal. His eyesight was saved in the bad eye. His food has to be cut a little smaller, and he needs help to shed. His poor bones are rickety, but he gets around and seems to be living the good life now.
I have been breeding blueys since 2010, and now we have a house full. They have their very own lizard room in my converted dining room, and a 12x18 ft. outdoor enclosure for the summer months. Ten years ago, I would have bet my house I wouldn't be living with reptiles, but we love it, and we wouldn't have it any other way.